Netanyahu to face questioning over corruption charges

Israeli media say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to face pair of corruption charges, which he says are "baseless".

    Netanyahu maintained the probe will uncover no evidence against him [Reuters]
    Netanyahu maintained the probe will uncover no evidence against him [Reuters]

    Israeli police are expected to question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a pair of corruption allegations, local media have reported.

    Israel's Channel 2 TV reported on Monday that the questioning will take place at the prime minister's residence.

    No details were given on the nature of the preliminary examination.

    Haaretz newspaper reported that the questioning will focus on suspicions that he and his family received gifts and "favours" from businessmen in Israel and abroad.

    Netanyahu is also the central suspect in a second investigation that is said to be more serious. It said a criminal probe is expected next week.

    A black screen has been reportedly placed in front of Netanyahu's official residence in apparent anticipation of the police investigators' arrival and to obstruct the view of journalists seeking to film them.

    Netanyahu has denied what he calls the "baseless" reports that he received gifts from two businessmen. 

    "All these scandals have turned out to be baseless and so will the allegations being published in the media now," he said in a statement.

    The Israeli leader has acknowledged receiving money from French tycoon Arnaud Mimran, who was sentenced to eight years in prison over a scam amounting to 283 million euros ($297m) involving the trade of carbon emissions permits and the taxes on them.  

    Netanyahu's office said he had received $40,000 in contributions from Mimran in 2001, when he was not in office, as part of a fund for public activities, including appearances abroad to promote Israel.  

    He has also come under scrutiny over an alleged conflict of interest in the purchase of submarines from a German firm.  

    Media reports have alleged a conflict of interest over the role played by the Netanyahu family lawyer, David Shimron, who also acts as the Israeli agent of Germany's ThyssenKrupp, which builds the Dolphin submarines. 

    SOURCE: News agencies


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